Council hears from island youth on need for teen center
Eight local youths scored high Monday night for a presentation with dignity and decorum as they invited the Town Council to join them for their first "Caf Night" program next Wednesday, March 22, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Teen Center, on West Street, to showcase the many ways that teens can get involved.
They also asked the councilors to support them in their goals of helping to establish a permanent Teen Center by building an addition at the Community Center.
The youths detailed their two years of activities and development and their being hosted at their current center in the Grange Hall by the Senior Center that is based there. They explained the physical limitations of the hall for some of the activities and events they would like to undertake.
The councilors praised the youths for their progress to date and their presentation.
The audience also hardily applauded them.
Serving as presenters under the guidance of Teen Program Coordinator Melissa Minto were 10th-graders Kate Moreau, Molly Welsh, and Courtney Westall; ninth-graders Sarah Pease, Jenn Thomas and Ally Yeoman's; eighth-grader Chad Woodward; and seventh-grader Lili Flour.
Among other decisions, the council adopted five recommendations of its Wildlife Committee for immediate implementation, and agreed to continue review of the committee's other recommendations. The councilors agreed to ask state officials to authorize more tags for more deer to be hunted and to establish a weigh station on the island; They also agreed to enact a local ordinance that would make shotguns and muzzleloaders with rifled, more accurate, barrels legal. Town officials will also work with University of Rhode Island authorities on deer tick control to prevent Lyme disease. The council also agreed to support public education campaigns to advise property owners about options for hunting and about tick management and Lyme disease.
The first public education program already is arranged for April 4 at the town library.
The discussion about deer problems included a review of a letter by Councilor Barbara Szepatowski, who offered to get more data about the expense of sharpshooters to help cull the local deer herd. She called for an extensive effort to find grants to get a study that would help with tick control. She also gave her views on other options. The councilors agreed to hear about sharpshooter costs at their next meeting. They indicated they opposed extending the hunting season or allowing hunts on town property, but did not take a specific vote.
High ground water
The councilors turned aside a proposal for a special committee to monitor high groundwater problems at Jamestown Shores after receiving a report from Town Administrator Bruce Keiser. He said town departments have documented improvements under relatively new rules about construction in areas of high ground water. Notably, houses and additions were smaller last year, he said.
The council assigned him to get specific data for its next meeting about variances because some Shores residents have reported that too many variances are still being granted by the Zoning Board of Review.
State Rep. Bruce Long (RJamestown, Middletown) reported that he and Senator Teresa Paiva Weed (D-Jamestown, Newport) were to testify Tuesday on legislation they have introduced to enable state authorities to consider cumulative, neighborhood and areawide impacts of septic systems in high groundwater areas. Current law limits reviews to individual lots only. He said action on the proposal was due in mid-April.
Councilors voted 4-1 to appoint Carol Lynn Trocki and Jim Turrene to the Water Resource Protection Committee. Szepatowski voted against the pair because she supported Ellen Winsor for one of the vacancies being filled.